October Fantasy Madness and More

We're BACK after a few months off from the newsletter.

Well, not WE, but I, BEN, the sole writer and proprietor of this very long newsletter.

Cooking these things up for you guys has turned out to be a bit of a monstrosity in terms of work.

And you know how lazy I can get.

Hey, give me at least SOME credit here. I'm allowed to be lazy.

It takes some serious time and energy running a large fantasy site with like a zillion best lists on it, an active forum with awesome fantasy members, and dealing with the self-confidence shattering negatives comments people keep leaving on my lists 

(actually, I like negative comments, they are like my red bull shots that keep me going).

This is my round about, run-on-sentence paragraph explaining WHY I'm cooking this letter up about 2 MONTHS after the last one. 

Ok, enough about me, more about FANTASY

September and October were are very good months for Fantasy. August wasn't bad either though I say October take the cake for a string of hot releases. 

Let's look at some books you don't want to miss reading out and some other fantasy news.

Ben's Best Fantasy Pick for the Fall
....Drum Roll.......

THE PICK: The Aeronaut's Windlass by Jim Butcher

Yep, my recommended pick for the best FALL fantasy book (that means folks, August, September,and October for you seasonally challenged persons).

FINALLY, Butcher spends some time in worlds not Dresden. To date, he's come up two worlds - Dresden Files and Codex Alera, so it's refreshing to see him try his hand at something new.

His newest series, The Cinder Spires, is an epic fantasy meets steampunk hybrid.

It's pretty damn good if I have to say so myself. His new book is certainly something more on the unique side -- most steam punk is not epic fantasy and most epic fantasy is not steam punk, so this turns out to be an interesting mix.

And, I liked it a lot. Some good wordlbuilding going on that makes you want to learn more about how the whole world works at large (Butcher just doesn't feed you everything in one narrative dump, but drip feeds you over the course of the very big book).

Since I'm always right ( ;) ), I'm willing to bet most of you will love this one too. Yes, it's only the FIRST book in like a huge epic fantasy series (I foresee like 6+ books here), but it sets things up nicely for the next.

We've got battling airships sailing through aetheric skies, humanity living in giant, 10,000 feet, 2 mile wide spires towering above a misty, a mysterious surface full of deadly deadly nasties, steam punk gadgets powered by aether, humanity at conflict with itself between these tower-states, and of course, an ancient, long forgotten evil stirring again.

Yep, everything you've ever wanted in an epic fantasy and a steampunk.

And let's not forget the airships!

My pick for the best read for October and this fall in general.

Definitely pick this one up on Amazon.

PS: I've listened to this one via an Audible Audiobook, and I have to say, the audiobook is fantastic. So for an extra treat (and a far more 'immersive experience) perhaps give the Audible Audiobook version a listen -- I'm the biggest fan of audiobooks ever these days, and it's the way I consume most books. There's nothing like mowing the lawn or doing dishes while listening to a fantasy audiobook.
Best Fantasy Books for October

October (and the end of September) IS the month for Fantasy releases with a string of top, very anticipated books. I've selected my picks for the three best ones coming out this month, but there are more fantasy books than I've listed.

But i'm only covering the standout ones I think people will be most interested in. And, well, I'm also too lazy to write up a description for all of them.
Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson

Released Oct 6

This is another biggie. Book 2 in the new mistborn trilogy by Sanderson, the fantasy genre's most prodigious writer. 

I don't see how Sanderson has any time for a personal life, between coming out with like 3 books at least per year, but hey, I'm all in favor for chaining the guy up to a desk and forcing him to write non-stop -- so if he wants to do that on his own accord without the chains, who am I to complain?

Anyways, this one will give you your fix by continuing the adventures of Waxillium Ladrian, hereditary Lord of House Ladrian, and kick ass hero.

Who needs to have the powers of a mistborn when you can do what Waxillium can? The answer is, you don't because you are kick ass enough.

Our very own Jon Snow has already written a review of Shadows of Self on the blog.

So, if you want some action fantasy or just another Sanderson romp or hey, you've read the first book in the series Allow of Law, then you don't need me to tell you to pick this one up.
Empire Ascendent by Kameron Hurley
Released Oct 8

Kameron Hurley, remember her, the author of that little book called 'The Mirror Empire' which just like won a slew of awards and made #3 on our Best Fantasy Books of 2014 list.

Yea, her.

Well, book two in the series is out in like just a couple days (from time of this newsletter creation). I recommend you pick it up when it's out.

And if you haven't read here first book in the series, don't be THAT person -- pick it up and read one of the more interesting fantasy books to come out in the past few years.

The author does new things with the genre. Her books may not be for everyone perhaps (fans of simple, action fantasy say may find her work too complex and perhaps, boring), but they are, in my opinion, some of the best stuff that's come out in a while.

Interested? You should be. Check out Empire Ascendent on Amazon.
The Dread Wyrm by Miles Cameron

Released Oct 20
Just about my favorite author when it comes to gritty epic military fantasy featuring a lot of knights, ladies, dragons, and monsters.

If I had to describe this series, it's kind of heady mix between The Once and Future King mashed in with A Game of Thrones , The Black Company, and Mazalan Book of the Fallen.

The series is not perfect, but when things come together, they really come together.

Cameron's series has it's own thing going on in a crowded genre. He's actually a medieval historian and the level of realistic detail in his books put most of the stuff out there to shame. I mean after reading the first book, I pretty much knew just how damn heavy wearing armor is, exactly what body parts hurt after doing a 6 hour stint in the saddle with it, and how you can't keep on swinging a sword after a few minutes in plate armor.

Cameron's world is so packed full of realistic details (did I mention the man is a real historian?), and you have a good picture of what a shitty life medieval people lived.

I'm glad I'm not a character in his book, or living in the middle ages!

Besides all the shittiness of living in a medieval world on the brink and falling apart, there's also a lot of magic, mayhem, and political chaos tossed in.

So, if you want heroic fantasy with a lot of monsters, powerful magic, beautiful women, knights doing battle, and evil sorcerers, this series is your fix. 

You won't want to miss this one. Check it out on Amazon.
Best Fantasy Picks for August & September

I covered the upcoming OCTOBER releases in the section above, but now it's time to travel back in time to about two months ago (August).

Since it's been like almost two months since my last newsletter, here's a bit of a refresher and recommendation list for the two months we've passed.

Some good fantasy did come out the past couple months and some of these will be making my Best Fantasy of 2015 end of year list on the blog.
Twelve Kings in Sharakai by Robin Hobb

There are two major trends in fantasy right now: Flintlock Fantasy and Silk Road Fantasy.

Twelve Kings in Sharakai fits squarely into Silk Road Fantasy, and is one of the finest examples of the genre that I've read.

It's an epic fantasy tale about a desert city and the politics and secrets that define, control, and disrupt it.There's a heavy feeling of the middle-eastern Arabian nights to this; the unique cultural feel and desert landscapes aside, there story, plot, characters are all tip top here.

This mysterious desert city is fleshed out in some serious detail -- so detailed and wonderful that you can pretty much feel the dry, dusty grit on your face, or smell the enticing spices as you lose yourself in the novel.

If you want a hugely refreshing change from all the European-inspired medieval fantasy books out there, you won't find anything better than this book.

With a horde of shout outs from some of the top authors in the genre, this book has made waves. And I can see why.

Don't be the one who misses this book.

Read about it on Amazon.
The Hollow Boy by Jonathan Stroud
I love love love Stroud. His Bartimaeus sequence is just about my favorite YA fantasy -- one that appeals just as much to adults as it does kids.

Fortunately, his new series Lockwood and Co does the YA genre some justice.

The new series is a horror YA fantasy for kids -- but like his Bartimaeus books, it's one for the adults too.

This is a series that has me turning off the lights, crawling under the covers, and brnging back those old feelings of being that kid being told ghost stories by the campfire.

The Hollow Boy continues the trend with another outstanding book in the series (number 3). If you haven't started on this series, you are missing out in a big way. And if you have read the last book, you'll want to continue with his latest entry which came out last month (September).

Check out The Hollow Boy on Amazon.
The Fifth Season  by NK Jemisin
Fans of Jemesin will be happy to know this is Jemisin's first book in a new trilogy (and totally new universe). 

Jemisin does what she does best in this book: draw up a non-standard fantasy that adroitly addresses social and ecological issues while still being able to tell an strong character-driven yarn -- all while also packing in a love of romance, sex, and angst between the covers.

You'll either love her or hate her work, but I say probably in the 'love' camp. Certainly if you like her The Inheritance Trilogy, you should pick up her new epic fantasy. She does similar things here.

Check out The Fifth Season on Amazon.
Nightwise by RS Belcher
Nightwise by RS Belcher -- dark, Gothic urban fantasy that focuses on the 'dark' part of it. Awesome novel. I loved Belcher's Six Gun Tarrot novel, which was one of the more interested books I've read in a long time.

And,what is it with fantasy characters on books having dark and mysterious cloaks on? 

Anyways, for something weird, dark, and different, absolutely read this one.

Funny Fantasy News

New Study Shows Fantasy Writers with Beards are More Likely to Delay Book Release


No, but there must be some truth to this right?

Both Rothfuss and Martin love them Gandalf style beards.

I'm thinking the next book in the King Killer Chronicles will only be out when Rothfuss looks exactly like George Martin (quote stolen from someone one our forum).

He's certainly working on that beard of his, we just need the extra 30 years, which is about when Book 3 in the King Killer chronicles is coming out.

I predict we will probably send a manned mission to mars before either of these authors finished their next book.

Blog Content You Don't Want to Miss

Here are some useful blog posts from the past month or two.

If you haven’t checked out our blog, the source of free give always, book reviews, and other such, be sure you do once in a while.


Do you Like Anime, Check Out our Anime Sister Site:

A fan of anime? Then you may like my side project called

I'm fiddling around with a new anime recommendation site with top anime lists and such.

You may want to check it out if you want some good old anime recommendations. The site is still in beta mode, but I'm working on it so expect a new look soon.

Anime is one of the best mediums to tell a good damn story with. So if you haven't watched any, check out the Top 25 Best Anime Series for a good intro.

Or hey, since this is like a FANTASY newsletter with things about fantasy, then check out the Top 25 Best Fantasy Anime out there.

Our You a Forum Member Yet?

If the answer is Not Yet, go to your fridge, grab an egg, then hit yourself on the face with it.

Seriously, one of the best fantasy forums around with LOADS of good people there who love discussing fantasy.

It is the PLACE to get updated fantasy recommendations, word on upcoming fantasy books, 2015 New Release Fantasy Book ratings, and just general fantasy chit chat. The members even have come up with their own Forum Best Fantasy Books list.

So join up if you have not, or at least go check it out and decide!

New End of Year Best List Coming Soon

New lists on the main site coming out in a couple months. It's nearing the end of 2015, which means I'm going to have to cough up some new lists.

Coming to a website near you the beginning of December: 'Best Fantasy Books of 2015'

NEW site update

Science Fiction site still a bit delayed -- I'm releasing a brand new Top 25 list, a Top 100 list, and  4 or so more lists within the next week or two.

Yes, I promised those updated lists the last newsletter, but there have been some coding issues with the site and the developer has taken 2 or 3 months longer than I thought.

But for the 2 actual science fiction fans that read this list, it is coming.

Check the new science fiction site over the next week or two to see the new updates (i hope).

Question for the Readers

Have you ladies and gents found any good Indie Fantasy reads recently?

If you have then please email me (simply respond to this newsletter) and let me know what they are. I'm putting together a shout out each newsletter of a couple good Indie Fantasy books to spread awareness -- so I need some recommendations.

The End But Not 'THE END'

Stay tuned for the next newsletter feed, likely around December.

If you just signed up, well you'll get the next list when it comes out.

Till then, see you on our forums.

Ben ( ADMIN).

Questions, Comments, Requests

If you have any questions or comments or specific requests pertaining to the Newsletter content (i.e. you want more book suggestions each month, have a suggestion, or a complain, etc) then feel to send me an email at

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